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Looking at the Mythical Five Selection of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships
by rick olivares
The games are done. The championship has been awarded to Iran for the third time in the last four years. And the individual awards were handed out.
Named to the Mythical Five Selection of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships were: Jason Castro, Kim Min Goo, Lin Chih-Chieh, Oshin Sahakian, and Hamed Hadadi. Let’s take a look at how they did.
Point Guard - Jason Castro (Philippines)
Able to shred defenses almost singlehandedly. Busted up 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones with near impunity and made defenders look silly trying to guard him. Made a strong case for size but not height-wise but in heart. I asked Hamed Hadadi what he thought of Castro and he summed up the man they call ‘the Blur’ with one word: “courageous”. As we say in the vernacular – ginawang asintahan yung mga malalaki. Speed kills. Theme song should be a take on the MC Hammer classic ‘Can’t touch this’.
I thought that Mahdi Kamrany was the best point guard but Jason just edged him by a tiny bit. Still a remarkable achievement for Castro.
Shooting Guard - Kim Min Goo (Korea)
Caught Korea’s first game of tourney against China. Didn’t play much but showed flashes in that game (the only tangible stat he put up was one turnover but it doesn’t at all mention how tough he played Chinese guard Liu Xiaoyu. Then in Korea’s next game – bam! Perpetually in motion. Coach Yoo Jae Hak primarily used him off the bench as a long-range reliever playing both guard positions. When he came into the match late in the first quarter against the Philippines, he never got off as he played the rest of the way. Simply amazing. Makes fantastic reads of the ball and shot selection. During the battle for third place, I pointed out to Philstar colleague Aldo Alvinante and interaksyon’s Mikkel Bolante how he would read the ball from the outside to grab an offensive board, pick off a pass, or cut off a lane. And right on cue, he showed it. And he is only 22 years old! Been raving about this kid for a while. Glad everyone got to see his game during the semis clash with Korea and his country’s battle for third with Chinese Taipei.
Forward - Lin Chih-Chieh (Chinese Taipei)
Amazing do-it all forward for Chinese Taipei. An ankle injury hurt in the match versus Qatar and in his final two games was a non-factor. But when he was on, he was magnificent. Check out his stats. Does a lot. In the latter games, he didn’t score much but he tried to do other things by playing decoy, quarterbacking, and playing defense. I asked him what he thought of the Philippines and he said he was impressed (he’s been here before). He expected a rough welcome but said the fans were terrific and polite. He was surprised by people asking for photographs.
Power Forward – Oshin Sahakian (Iran)
Of all the picks for the Mythical Five, I was surprised with this. I thought that Korea’s Kim Jong Kyu was better. Stats-wise, Sahakian doesn’t cut it. But it isn’t all stats, as Oshin provides his team with a lot of energy, scoring, and extra possessions. His demeanor never changes throughout the game like Kim Min Goo. Throw in Hadadi and they are mostly an all-stoic team.
Center – Hamed Hadadi (Iran)
Was there anyone better? Clearly the big difference for Iran. Without him, they are beatable. It isn’t just his size but his skills. Deft touch for a big man. Doesn’t complain. If he disagrees with a call, he raises an eyebrow. Shrugs then gets back into the game unlike Bahrami who whines a lot (although he is an incredible talent). Doesn’t need the ball to dominate. His mere presence around the shaded area is enough to cause a major shift in the defense. Watch as three or four players collapse on him. There were times when Mahdi Kamrany and Hadadi ran the pick and roll much like Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp did back in Seattle – just throw it up there and let the Big Fella throw it down.
Have seen him play in three FIBA tournaments now and no one has figured out a way to stop him.
Most Valuable Player – Hamed Hadadi (Iran)
Now let me throw in my own all-star lineup for the tournament by adding to the Mythical Selection:
Gabe Norwood (forward) Philippines
Japeth Aguilar (forward-center) Philippines
Mahdi Kamrany (point guard) Iran
Samad Nikhhah Bahrami (forward) Iran
Cho Sung Min (shooting guard) Korea
Kim Joo Sung (forward-center) Korea
Wang Zhizhi (center) China
Best Naturalized Player - Chinese Taipei's Quincy Davis III